Drafting During a Triathlon Swim
Question: Is it a good idea?
Most people (other than the leader) draft during the swim portion, whether they are aware of it or not. The trick is to get better at it. Here’s how:
1. Get directly behind another swimmer. If that person is just a little bit faster than you, you’ll get a nice ride for the duration.
2. Sometimes it’s easier to get a draft from the other person’s hip than from his or her feet. This way, you avoid touching his or her feet as well as the splashing.
3. If you’re drafting and start falling behind, continue your pace and find someone else you can swim behind, rather than trying to swim faster and potentially tiring yourself.
An article published in the Men’s Health Magazine regarding drafting: “After a series of lab tests, Portuguese scientists concluded that a swimmer who stays 2 feet behind another athlete’s foot kicks experiences 44 percent less drag through the water. What’s more, you can draft off another triathlete from as far back as 19 feet and still reduce your drag by 16 percent. ‘You’ll maintain an overall higher race pace, since you’ll be sparing energy,’ says Antonio Silva, Ph.D., the study’s lead author.”
Drafting can give you a huge advantage. Don’t think you have to be swimming with a large group, either – all it takes is one other person to swim in front. If you try drafting, you’ll be amazed at how much effort it will save you!